A military heritage, naval supremacy and industrialisation have all contributed towards making Great Britain “Great”. But what of our history in watch and clock manufacture? Here at Ryan & Gilbert, we have been drawing upon London’s history-steeped heritage in authentic manufacture for years, with successful luxury watch collections like the Belgravia, the Knightsbridge, St James and St Pauls lines – collection names that take after residential districts within our country’s capital. But what many may not know is that by the 1800s, Britain was producing over half of the world’s watches. Some of the most notable British watch brands share the same passion and diversity with us here at Ryan & Gilbert.
Very little is known about the early history of clockmakers in London – maybe that’s what gives our heritage in watchmaking such a mystique and whimsical feel? Some of our country’s greatest innovations in watchmaking stem back to the 17th century. The father of English watchmaking, Thomas Tompion designed timepieces that are considered some of the world’s most emblematic pieces even today. He passed on valuable skills and knowledge to entrepreneurs like George Graham and Thomas Mudge who have gone on to create influential watches still loved and collected today. John Harrison (1693-1776) created a way for British ships to travel accurately and safely across the oceans with the ability to find longitude at sea – a major contributing factor to the growth of the British Empire. And so the list goes on.
Indeed, the inspiration behind every Ryan & Gilbert watch pays homage to Great Britain’s evolving epicentre of watchmaking – London. Principle watchmakers were congregating in London during the 17th century, many French watchmakers residing in Soho. Clerkenwell became the great centre of craftsmen within the trade, with many streets being occupied by artisans specialising in a single part of the watch manufacturing process – fuse cutters, engine turners, finishers and escapement makers for example. Three-quarters of the watch industry’s innovations today derive from the UK which, considering the complexity behind the trade, is no mean feat.
Ryan & Gilbert our company- Born in London, celebrates the culture and heritage of city life with a range of collections – each one with its very own identity. Attainable, high-quality wristwatches are values at the forefront of each one of our designs.
By designing our own classic wristwatches, Ryan & Gilbert joins other Great British watches in climbing up that watchmaking ladder once again to re-write the history of British watchmaking in a whole new way. You can view our full catalogue of Ryan & Gilbert watches here.